I recently read a blog that suggested the idea that instead of having a church membership we should have mission partners. I like the idea.
Membership rings nicely because the Bible says we are “members” of one body. I understand what Paul is saying, but member has lost a lot of its Biblical meaning in our culture. Membership today means you belong to something, or pay dues to an organization, that gives you a service. For example, if you are a member of the Y then you have access to their services, the pool, workout rooms, etc.. The church doesn’t operate that way with her members. Church is a place where you serve each other. You come to serve.
I like the idea of mission partner because I think it makes it more clear and concrete the mission Jesus had given us. The blog gives five reasons a church should make the switch.
#1: Membership is culturally hijacked terminology by its use from country clubs to platinum cards. Partnership is a term that carries less baggage and brings new metaphors biblically.
#2: Membership may emphasize privilege to the neglect of responsibility. Partnership emphasizes both.
#3: Membership could bring deeply rooted assumptions about church in general that are no longer valid for your church. Partnership creates an opportunity to reset expectations.
#4: Membership is a static. Partnership brings a sense of both action and direction.
#5: Membership is a relatively small portal for vision-casting. Partnership opens a dynamic metaphor range for future-orientation, impact, togetherness, adventure and risk-taking. It captures the “sentness” of a missional reorientation.
(from: Clarity Evangelist Blog)
What do you think?